It was May of 1991 and I was a 12 years old sixth grader who was an action and adventure junkie. I’d like to tell you I found adventure every weekend riding dirt bikes or going to karate but the truth was I was more into Nintendo and Ninja Turtles than anything else. The highlight of my childhood was once a month running home to the mailbox to find the latest issue of Nintendo Power Magazine, a periodical used by Nintendo to highlight the latest games for kids to pester their parents to purchase. The magazine would often give readers the opportunity to win an elaborate prize, often tied into a R rated film like such at Total Recall or Robocop 2 (in retrospect any company who would even think to market a R rated movie in this manner to children today would be boycotted before the ink in the magazine would dry). True to form, Volume 24 included a contest where one luck winner would win a Hudson Hawk themed scavenger hunt in their hometown. I had no idea what Hudson Hawk was but was thrilled by the box art in the magazine, featuring a sharply dressed man dangling from a rope. The picture showed action, adventure, and a sleek smooth looking guy against a New York City backdrop. What more could a 12-year-old pixel addict ask for?
I soon started noticing commercials for the film, showing Bruce Willis flying out the back of an ambulance, getting cappuccino (which soon became my favorite drink) shot out of his hand, and singing lots of lots of singing. I was a fan of the film without having seen one frame of the actual movie! Sadly, my parents would not yet allow me to see a R rated picture (yes I know I was twelve at the time) but name of the film stuck in my head, crammed somewhere between the code for 30 lives in the video game Contra and the words to Weird Al’s song “Just Eat It.” ( Yes I was quite the ladies man even at that age). Months later I would trick my dad into renting the film from Rx Place, where we spent many weekends perusing the endless cache of VHS tapes we would almost never return on time, nor did we ever intend to. When we fired up the film and sank into a tub of popcorn the size of my head, it was apparent to me I was watching the best film of my young life. If you haven’t seen the movie, it stars Bruce Willis and Danny Aiello as cat burglars charged with stealing and then protecting artifacts belonging to the Vatican. The burglars did have one very unique feature separating them from other Hollywood thieves rather than rely on watches and carefully choreographed plans to foil security systems they kept time by singing.
Luckily, by the time I was able to drive I had forgotten about the terribly campy film. Recently I employed a simple change into my morning schedule I would not have thought of if it weren’t for this film. I have a tendency to lose myself in relaxed thought while showering, often turning a quick shower into more of a long soak. Before turning the water on I now pick a song from my gargantuan playlist on my i-phone and noting to myself how long the tune is. Rather than saying to myself, let me just try to be quick, I make a mental note to limit myself to no more than three songs before exiting the shower. I have now cut my shower time by two-thirds, freeing me up for more time to get ready before hauling off to work. Even though I can’t sing like Bruce Willis’ alter ego Bruno, its because of this truly awful film I’m able to get out of bed in the morning and start my day.
Philip A. Maenza aka “Philtastic Phil” is an internet entrepreneur and consumer behavior professional whose interests include art, film, music, stand up comedy, fitness, and comic books. Phil is also a dedicated community volunteer and always open to connecting with like-minded optimists. His go to shower time song has been Katie Perry’s “Firework” for the past three months, because sometimes we all feel like a plastic bag drifting in the wind.